Friday, 25 April 2014

holy foccacia

I think it's about time I did another recipe as I haven't done one for ages. Sarah and I found ourselves at a loose end on Thursday so decided to give focaccia bread a go. I have only made bread once and this was last week and it wasn't really real bread... It was bread sticks. But they were excellent so now I think I'm a pro at this baking malarkey. 

So anyway, we gathered together our ingredients which included artichoke, sundries tomatoes and olives, and set out to make our dough. To make a large foccacia you will need:

500g strong flour
7g fast action yeast
1 heaped tsp salt
Sundried tomatoes

Tip the flour into a large bowl and make a well in the centre of your hill. Add your salt and yeast and gradually pour in 350ml of tepid water. Bring the mixture together with a spoon, then with your hands. This is sticky but it does get less so after a while. But hey, we all like to get a bit sticky in the kitchen now and again! 


Now you need to knead your dough. Get those guns working, you'll be doing this for 10 minutes. Who needs dumb bells when you have a little foccacia to produce?! 


Now you need to let your dough prove. Grease a bowl with olive oil and pop the little bundle of soft dough into the centre. Cover with cling and then leave it in a warm place for an hour. 


It will double in size and be springy to touch. And it will begin to smell super yeasty. Mmm mmmmm!

Whilst the dough is proving you can chop all of your yummy bits up.




After an hour take out your baby and roll out into a rectangle shape. In half of the dough place your goodies. 




Fold the other half over... It will now resemble what I can only describe as a calzone. 


Cling this again and leave to prove for a further 30 minutes. Once fully proven make little dents with your finger and put your rosemary inside them. Coarsley grate some Parmesan and sprinkle on top, along with a generous pinch of sea salt.

Preheat the oven to 220* and pop the dough in for just 15 minutes. Do keep an eye on it though as sometimes they cook quicker than expected. You want it to be soft to touch and golden. Take it out the oven and leave to cool. Et voilà! The perfect spring foccacia. 



We may or may not have eaten the majority of this whilst watching the first series of Sex and the City on Thursday evening... And Friday morning... Who says we're back at work hey! 

Sorry for the lull in posts, I'll try to be better this week. 


Thursday, 17 April 2014

'gyptian walkin

Mel and I found ourselves back in the capital yesterday- I had a few errands to run and Mel had hopped across to visit her aunt (I'm really going to miss school holidays- what's this 28 day malarkey?! Shudder the thought). The sun was beaming across our little faces and we were in an exploring mood, but we also had grumbly tummies to feed first. Cue food: 

We were near Old Street so headed to Ozone Coffee Roasters and grabbed brunch. I had the freshest salad i've ever eaten to date- rocket, cured salmon, pickled ginger, sesame seeds and a good ol' dollop of avocado. H.e.a.v.en. Mel had a variation of Eggs Benedict with the addition of a bubble and squeak base. I would show you a photo but she wolfed it down before I got the opportunity. Going by her 'ooos' and 'ahhhs', I think she enjoyed it! 


My flat white was full of love for me today:


Having tied up ends in the east we headed back across the city to have a culture injection. I thought the British Museum would look beautiful in the sun so we decided to have a gander amongst the Egyptians. 




Just like my trip to The Natural History Museum, I was like an excitable puppy, running round the huge sarcophaguses and posing with the lions and sphinxes. Sorry Mel, I'll be better behaved next time. Promise. 




I rather fancy myself a bit of an Egyptian... Oui oui? 






Mel thought this would make an excellent bath tub. I think it might be a bit deep...and cold? 




These wall panels are incredible. I find it totally amazing to think how old they are, but are still completely beautiful and have the ability to tell a story of a forgotten time. 


Clearly this little lion didn't run fast enough... Poor chap. 

Moving on from the BM, we required ice cream and a sit in the sun. I keep telling you it's a tough life! 




By this time, Josie had turned up.



This is my 'best pistachio ice cream ever' face. I nearly dribbled, but don't worry, I saved my dignity. For today at least. 

We made friends with this very handsome boy. He was a dribbler though... Clearly didn't take anti dribbling lessons from me. 


He just wouldn't leave us alone and every time we threw the ball he'd come bounding back over! What a cheeky boy! 


A perfect spring day in the sun before meeting up with the university gang for an evening full of wine, pizza and late night cocktails. 

Here's to a very relaxing bank holiday weekend. Enjoy!



Sunday, 13 April 2014

lambing life

Whilst at home for the last week I have spent approximately most of my time reading and running. I've entered a 10k on Easter Monday in Regents Park- that was a good laugh when I signed up for it a month ago, a real big lol. Now I'm slightly regretting it as I look like a nutter running around my village in luminous kit whilst my dad cheers on as though I'm Mo Farrah about to smash my first marathon. But it's only 10k- a mere walk (run, jog..crawl?) in the park, no biggie. I'll remind myself of that when I'm about to have a coronary (which, coincidentally, my mother is genuinely concerned is going to happen...). 

Yes I really do have a headband. It makes me go faster. Obviously. 

If I'm not pounding the worn country roads round me then I'm reading. A simple pleasure and pure bliss. Also, a rarity to enjoy whilst working at a school. It's taken me an embarrassingly long time to read 'Eat Pray Love' because every time I settle down a girl asks me a question about Latin, or how to spell aristocrat. But hurrah! I've finally finished it. FYI, the film is shoddy at best, the book, on the otherhand, is somewhat calming and I really do feel like I've made a friend in Liz. 

So having finally put the book to bed, I thought I should probably head down to the farm and see all the million lambs we have everywhere. Because they really are everywhere (not the oven yet, but almost). 

On the way back from an afternoon in the Cotswolds, my friend Sophie and I headed out to the fields to have a little skip with the lambies. But first we stopped off at the kennels to visit some very handsome chappies.




After a hop skip and a jump over the farmer's fence, we snuck into the field with the lambies.




Sophie had a Julie Andrews moment in the field...




I was determined to sneak up on the lambs, so did my best ninja impression. I think they cottoned on, even in the diguise of my shearling jacket...




That was as close as I was getting... Clearly not as svelte as I once thought. Hmmm.



The new borns down the farm are a lot more approachable (they're just a bit dopey really) and so I took the opportunity to give them a little photo shoot. 


The mummies stamped their feet a little but I think they were soon charmed by me...






Soon these little ones will be out in the fields once they're a bit stronger. Until then, I'm going to take advantage of their proximity to the house!